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Egypt is synonymous with Pharaohs, the pyramids, temples and antiquities from ancient civilisations. And at the centre of these great civilisations lies the Nile River that has influenced their economics, social life, politics and religion. It is the oldest travel destination on earth: Greek and Roman travellers came in 430 BC to wonder at some of the very sights that make it a modern travel destination today. The magnificence of the painted Valley of the Kings, exquisite temples and the pyramids were all sought-after subjects of admiration, and many were already 2,500 years old!

From desert landscapes and dry, rugged mountains that reach to the sea, dusty cities full of exotic sounds and smells, and green strips of agricultural land snaking along the banks of the Nile, Egypt has something to offer all travellers from all walks of life. Spectacular diving in the Red Sea; unique desert experiences, whether on the back of a camel to Mount Sinai or on a jeep safari to the inner oases; the colour and chaos of Cairo and its markets; and felucca cruises on the Nile River are just some of the exotic attractions awaiting visitors. Egypt promises an unforgettable experience of history and relaxation - a mixture of discovery and pleasure.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

When considering things to see and do on vacation, the mere mention of Egypt brings thoughts of mummies and pharaohs to mind; it is a historical sightseeing treasure trove. If visitors have seen all the famous attractions, from the Pyramids of Giza to the Nile Valley's West Bank, there's always the statue of Ramses II or the impressive Asfour crystals to admire. No matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to see or do in Egypt.

A visit to the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea is fascinating, both historically and culturally, and offers fantastic diving opportunities. There are also various holiday resorts in Egypt that can offer guests a rewarding holiday experience.

These wonderful attractions can be seen year round, but Egypt can get quite hot from June to August and trips should be planned accordingly. There are various means of transport and tours offered to most of the popular tourist attractions.

Ever dreamt of being an adventurer or explorer, uncovering a world of myth and legend? Egypt's many attractions will definitely satisfy this exciting quest for all travellers.


Egyptians are friendly and approachable at work, and personal relationships are very important when conducting business. Business is usually conducted formally in Egypt; however meetings may not take place in private and it is normal for them to be interrupted with other matters. Punctuality is important, though don't be surprised if your contact is late or postpones the meeting. Be patient. Dress should be formal and conservative; suits and ties are standard and women should dress modestly. Women may encounter some sexism in the business world. Most Egyptians are Muslim and therefore one should be mindful of Islamic customs. English is widely spoken and understood, although attempting to speak some basic Arabic will be highly appreciated. The normal working week runs from Sunday to Thursday. Business hours vary, but in the private sector it is usually 9am to 5pm and in the public sector is it usually 8am to 3pm. Avoid scheduling business trips during the month of Ramadan as working hours are minimised and during the holiday period in August, as many key players will not be available.


Except for the Mediterranean coast the country experiences a desert climate, which is hot and dry most of the year, especially in the summer months (June to August). Winter is from December to February with average temperatures of 68°F to 79°F (20°C to 26°C).


The international access code for Egypt is +20. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). The city code for Cairo is (0)2. There are high surcharges on international calls from hotels; it is cheaper to phone long-distance from the 24-hour Post, Telephone and Telegraph (PTT) offices that are available in the major cities. For international directory phone enquiries dial 120. The local mobile phone operators use GSM 900 networks and have roaming agreements with all major operators. Internet cafes are available in the main tourist areas.


Egypt is a conservative society and visitors should respect local customs and sensitivities. Homosexuality is solemnly frowned upon and homosexual acts are illegal. Religious customs should be recognised, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours is forbidden in the Muslim culture. Travellers should be discreet or choose to partake in the custom themselves. Travellers to Egypt should dress modestly. Photography of military institutions is prohibited.

Duty Free

Travellers arriving in Egypt do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g tobacco; alcoholic beverages up to 1 litre; perfume for personal use and 1 litre of eau de cologne; and goods for consumption to the value of LE 100. Prohibited items include narcotics and drugs.


Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.


A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Travellers to Egypt should come prepared to beat the heat with a high factor sunblock and drink plenty of water to combat dehydration. Drinking water in the main cities and towns is normally chlorinated but it is advisable to only drink bottled water. Visitors should only eat thoroughly cooked food and fruits they have peeled themselves to prevent travellers diarrhoea. The waters of the Nile are contaminated and should not be consumed or bathed in. Medical treatment can be expensive and standards vary so insurance is strongly advised, including evacuation. Medical facilities outside of Cairo can be very basic.


Arabic is the official language although English and French are widely spoken, especially in the tourist areas.


The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP), which is divided into 100 piastres. Most credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. Visitors are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds to avoid additional exchange rate charges. Banks are usually closed on Friday and Saturday, but private exchange bureaux, called 'Forex', are open daily and banks in major hotels are open 24 hours. Cairo branches of the Egyptian British Bank and Banque Misr now have ATMs available that accept Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus and are quite common in the main tourist areas.

Passport Visa

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Egypt, if arriving within 6 days after leaving or transiting through infected areas, including the following: (in Africa), Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan (south of 15 degrees north), Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia; (in America), Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. NOTE: Persons without a valid yellow fever certificate, if one is required, will be subject to quarantine. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Egypt is generally a very safe country to visit, with no ongoing tension from the 2011 revolution. There are very low levels of crime and a welcoming, hospitable people. There remains a low-level threat from terrorism in Egypt. In the past Red Sea resorts on the Sinai Peninsula have been targeted, and there are active threats against Christian Coptic churches where several bombings and shootings have occurred, as recently as 2010. In general, there are increased security measures at all tourist sites, and especially in resort areas on the Sinai Peninsula, but visitors should be alert and are advised to avoid political demonstrations and public gatherings. Visitors to the cities and tourist sites will experience a fair amount of hassle from touts and are advised not to carry more money on them than needed at a time. Women should take extra caution when travelling alone as there are incidents of harassment, and sexual assault is not uncommon; women should be particularly alert when visiting spas and other tourist related activities. Racism towards black and Asian people is both prevalent and acceptable. Egypt also has a poor train safety record with several fatal accidents each year.


Tipping is known as 'baksheesh' and some small change is expected for most services, though small change can be hard to come by. 'Baksheesh' can be a useful practice in order to gain entry to seemingly inaccessible places, or for extra services- a small tip can open doors, literally. A service charge is added to most restaurant and hotel bills but a 5% tip is normally given directly to the waiter. Taxi drivers are tipped about 10%.

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